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Hi! New guy, love cards, don't like dice :)

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tuism
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Hi guys!

My name's Steven Tu (Tuism everywhere) and I play and more importantly, am working towards making games, board and video. Of course, this is a boardgame place so I'll stick to that around here :)

I've been making forays into boardgame design, and mostly, I've been influenced heavily by Android: Netrunner, it being the game that brought me back into physical gaming since I quit MTG many many many moons ago (I think it was 1998).

Last year I prototyped what I called a Rogue-Like Card Game, which had asymmetrical and blind play aspects of ANR, but I hadn't continued with that. (http://www.tuism.com/my-rouge-like-card-game-wits-board-game-jam/)

Now I've been working on a multiplayer (3+) game of hidden information and espionage, again a card game. I'm more experienced now and feel like I do want to take this one further.

I'm averse to dice because I feel cards are at least self-balancing in terms of odds, but that's my personal preference and in no way represent what I feel is better or worse in games. Some of my best friends play with dice :P

So I have a few questions for you experienced guys at BGDF:

1. How do you guys browse around here? I personally frequent a few forums and read and engage with EVERYTHING (Subscribe to all ANR on BGG, our local South African game dev forum, and one or two other games) with the time I have, but doing that for yet another entire forum seems very daunting.

2. Physical games seem to have long, long, long design/dev/production cycles, what's the ratio of exploration vs publishing for you? (Not gonna generalise here cos everyone will have wildly different numbers I'm sure). How often do you scrap ideas and go do another?

3. Card games seem way harder to balance than a not-card game, true or not true? (e.g. Making Rune Age vs making Pandemic)

Thanks guys, looking forward to being part of a vibrant and engaging community :)

Fhizban
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hey there, welcome to the

hey there,
welcome to the bgdf!

Actually - i stumbled across your website a good while ago, while i was researching a rogue like card game myself (im still very interested in doing something like this myself one day - but i did not chase the idea further).

1. same here, i have to limit the boards i visit due to time constrains. there are not so many important board game forums anyway. BGG is so big, that almost every thread is washed away within a day. so my main "outposts" are BGDF and mostly private discussions via eMail and Facebook with other designers.

2. Well, im working 100% on my own (self financed, self designed, self marketed, self published). so my cycles are even longer. three of my concepts are slowly reaching maturity (out of 5 concepts currently WIP) - and this took me like 2,5 years to get it to this point already.

3. hmm, i don't think so - except customizable card games. when the components are interchangeable, it gets a lot harder!

im a big fan of card games too BTW, especially customizable ones - it always reminds me a bit of object-orientated-programming.

cheers
-Tobias (alias Fhibzan / 1manstudio)

let-off studios
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Hello and welcome

Hello and welcome Tuism!

NOTE: your questions kick-started my brain...Hope this wall of text doesn't intimidate you - or make me sound like an idiot. :)

Tuism wrote:
1. How do you guys browse around here?

I find the right-hand sidebar very helpful in this regard. The most active and/or recent discussions in the past couple days are highlighted, allowing you to find them quickly. The "list all topics" button at the bottom of the list helps you dig back a little further, like if you've not visited in the past couple days. If you have more time to spare, you can always to to the Forums tab and browse by topic.

You can also click on a member's name and when their profile is displayed you can click on the "track" tab and see where they have posted most recently.

Personally, I stick to the recent topics list most of the time. I understand how time is at a premium, so it's good enough for my purposes, and allows me to still chip in on someone's questions or topics.

Tuism wrote:
2. Physical games seem to have long, long, long design/dev/production cycles, what's the ratio of exploration vs publishing for you?

Since I've not been published, I can't speak on the timescale from personal experience. However, I've seen plenty of projects in process for a year or sometimes even two years before they're produced and on the shelves/in Kickstarter backers' hands. Smaller publishing companies (the likes of whom I've contacted for my own games) can carry maybe one or two projects for a single year, and that's just on the production side of things. A designer may work on a single project for a year or sometimes more before even considering approaching a publisher.

Of course, if you self-publish and half-ass it, you can likely put something out with passable art and components in a few months. Just don't expect it to sell well at all. I think a publisher - who focuses on distribution channels and marketing - can be a significant help to a designer. That way, the designer focuses their energy on creating games, while the publisher focuses on the other issues: production, distribution, promotions, etc.

Tuism wrote:
...How often do you scrap ideas and go do another?

I have a shelf's worth of I personally have a handful of projects in various states of completion at a time. That way, if I'm tired of a project or if it's being considered by a publisher, I can switch to another project and pick up where I left off. I think this also gives you more opportunities to try different ideas, mechanics, and game experiences. In sum, try your hand at making several different types of games, and go with the one that's "working" for you at the moment. If an idea doesn't seem to cooperate or fit well with the game idea that currently has your attention, then write it down and save it for another of your ideas.

Tuism wrote:
3. Card games seem way harder to balance than a not-card game, true or not true? (e.g. Making Rune Age vs making Pandemic)

Dude, I have no idea. When think of the two games you offer as examples, I see a number of challenges - though in many cases significantly different challenges - with developing each idea to its fullest.

tuism
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Fhizban wrote:hey

Fhizban wrote:
hey there,
welcome to the bgdf!

Actually - i stumbled across your website a good while ago, while i was researching a rogue like card game myself (im still very interested in doing something like this myself one day - but i did not chase the idea further).

Wow! I'm honoured! :D Never thought I'd already have been spotted previously here :D Rogue-likes are really cool, I think a lot of boardgames already have a rogue-like element to them (permadeath, procedural eonvironmant/encounters, looting), I do wonder how to make a boardgame feel even more rogue-like :)

Fhizban wrote:
2. Well, im working 100% on my own (self financed, self designed, self marketed, self published). so my cycles are even longer. three of my concepts are slowly reaching maturity (out of 5 concepts currently WIP) - and this took me like 2,5 years to get it to this point already.

Wow! 100% doing it on your own? May I ask, if you don't mind, how you're being financed? Do you have a day job to keep the bills paid during these 2,5 years, or are you living on previous projects' income?

Fhizban wrote:
3. hmm, i don't think so - except customizable card games. when the components are interchangeable, it gets a lot harder!
im a big fan of card games too BTW, especially customizable ones - it always reminds me a bit of object-orientated-programming.

Yeah when I say card games I guess I mean something like a CCG or LCG, but stuff like Rune Age where it's a self-contained card game also fall into that category in my mind, but I know what you mean!

tuism
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let-off studios wrote:Hello

let-off studios wrote:
Hello and welcome Tuism!

NOTE: your questions kick-started my brain...Hope this wall of text doesn't intimidate you - or make me sound like an idiot. :)

Not at all! I'm surprised by such warm and substantial response! I can see this is my kind of spot :P

let-off studios wrote:
I find the right-hand sidebar very helpful in this regard. The most active and/or recent discussions in the past couple days are highlighted, allowing you to find them quickly. The "list all topics" button at the bottom of the list helps you dig back a little further, like if you've not visited in the past couple days. If you have more time to spare, you can always to to the Forums tab and browse by topic.

You can also click on a member's name and when their profile is displayed you can click on the "track" tab and see where they have posted most recently.

Personally, I stick to the recent topics list most of the time. I understand how time is at a premium, so it's good enough for my purposes, and allows me to still chip in on someone's questions or topics.

Thanks for a detailed breakdown! :) I have one more question though - how *do* subscriptions work here? On BGG I just click next to see the next subscribed updated item, but here I find no such thing? In fact I subscribed to this thread and didn't know there were replies until I came to check myself.

let-off studios wrote:
Since I've not been published, I can't speak on the timescale from personal experience. However, I've seen plenty of projects in process for a year or sometimes even two years before they're produced and on the shelves/in Kickstarter backers' hands. Smaller publishing companies (the likes of whom I've contacted for my own games) can carry maybe one or two projects for a single year, and that's just on the production side of things. A designer may work on a single project for a year or sometimes more before even considering approaching a publisher.

Of course, if you self-publish and half-ass it, you can likely put something out with passable art and components in a few months. Just don't expect it to sell well at all. I think a publisher - who focuses on distribution channels and marketing - can be a significant help to a designer. That way, the designer focuses their energy on creating games, while the publisher focuses on the other issues: production, distribution, promotions, etc.

Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I'm seeing from research/looking around. Do the majority of "professionals" here live off such long project lifecycles? Like, the income from the one feeds the next?

let-off studios wrote:
I have a shelf's worth of I personally have a handful of projects in various states of completion at a time. That way, if I'm tired of a project or if it's being considered by a publisher, I can switch to another project and pick up where I left off. I think this also gives you more opportunities to try different ideas, mechanics, and game experiences. In sum, try your hand at making several different types of games, and go with the one that's "working" for you at the moment. If an idea doesn't seem to cooperate or fit well with the game idea that currently has your attention, then write it down and save it for another of your ideas.

Seems to be the same as in video game dev, exploring more ideas gives you more chance at hitting something worth chasing rather than putting eggs in a basket. It's always sound advice but it's difficult to action (all the time) :)

Thanks for your detailed response! :D

Word Nerd
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For Cards For Now

Welcome.

I, too, enjoy playing (and designing) games with cards. In part, this is because my most preferred mechanics involve language, but also because I feel the plane of the card affords so much greater room for a designer to play.

How do I browse here? I scan the sidebar and look for anything remotely related to my current problems (today, I'm looking for an artist), or for a familiar screen name. If I have a particular concern, I might drop into a forum and scan the post titles.

Your next question was about work style. I don't know that I've been doing this long enough to say I have a style or pattern. I'm currently working on just one project, which I started six years ago. At the time I started, I didn't know I'd be at this point today; there wasn't really a plan.

My opening comment responded to your last question, but let me expand on this. I don't play a lot of the games folks know which have fantastic art and design work, but I can nevertheless appreciate the quality and value of the work for a visually appealing game product. Cards come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes as well. Because they can easily contain large amounts of information, cards can perform a wide variety of game functions. While cards may be more susceptible to wear and tear than dice, they are also cheaper to produce (or reproduce). It's usually easy to find a replacement card in an emergency (e.g. substitute a joker for the missing card), and if you have a stack of blank cards you can make up your own games on the spot.

Here's a funny story about cards and dice...

Before boarding an international flight, I was once asked to open my suitcase at check-in because the security staff saw something unusual on the x-ray. When I opened my suitcase for them, they dove right past the card games (and a couple risqué decks) to my bottle of dice: a collection of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 in a rainbow of colours. I was quickly sent on my way, but it was the dice that held me up that day, not the cards.

questccg
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Comment based on the title

tuism wrote:
...love cards, don't like dice...

I too really like cards. I have loved them ever since the E.T. movie, where I spent time driving around with my Dad to try to collect all 100 of the movie's cards. That was awesome.

Later on, I collected "Star Trek, The Next Generation" cards since I really enjoyed that television series. I even managed to get two "Jean-Luke Picard" rare cards.

From there I collected cards from things like "Blood Wars" (Planescape Universe) and other *dead* CCGs like "Legend of The Five Rings" or "Vampire" (by Deckmaster/WOTC circa 1995)...

So like you, I too love cards and the artwork/design that comes with them.

Where we differ is on DICE. I think dice can introduce a random element that makes the game more interactive. Players feel as if they are "doing something" to affect the outcome of the game.

So I like dice including custom dice where the game is altered from pure statistics/strategy to some luck.

Why I like dice is because I feel they add to the "Stories behind games". What I mean by this is that playing with dice leads to players telling stories about the game based on how they rolled their dice.

A lucky roll and they can't help but remember how one lucky roll won them the game. Or having only bad rolls the reason for their loss. And so those are the kind of the stories players tend to remember.

In my current WIP I have introduced dice to a very statistic based combat mechanic. It works very well and has already led to some interesting playtester stories!

So maybe you're giving dice a bad reputation. Surely you wouldn't want somebody else rolling the bones for you! The odds are the same... But then again the dice may be *HOT*! ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zBz27MdSn4

Fhizban
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Quote:Wow! 100% doing it on

Quote:
Wow! 100% doing it on your own? May I ask, if you don't mind, how you're being financed? Do you have a day job to keep the bills paid during these 2,5 years, or are you living on previous projects' income?

Day job of course, i have to pay the rent somehow. To be honest: I don't know a single person who managed to make a living from card games. Maybe someone who was successful once and earned some bonus income - but a permanent income? don't think its possible.

enjoy your stay!

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